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Garage massage turns out to be just as creepy as it sounds

An East Palo Alto man has pleaded no contest to sexual assault charges for running an unlicensed massage business out of his garage, San Mateo County prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jose Garcia Plascencia, 57, ran the business for years out of a converted garage in the 2400 block of Illinois Street, claiming it was a traditional Mexican “sobandero,” according to the district attorney’s office. He was arrested in April 2017 after three women came forward to allege he assaulted them, East Palo Alto police said.

Many more eventually came forward to report cases dating as far back as 2011 in which the victims said Plascencia improperly touched their genital areas or otherwise engaged in a sexual manner with them during massages, prosecutors said.

He pleaded no contest Tuesday to several counts of forcible sexual penetration and sexual battery, and is likely to receive a sentence of 13 years in prison when he returns for sentencing on March 28, according to the district attorney’s office.

Plascencia’s defense attorney Kristine Burk said her client:

“… continues to maintain he did not do much of what was alleged, but he understood the risk of going to trial. … With as many people who came forward with many allegations that he denied, he felt that the risk of going to trial made it worth taking a plea bargain.”

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